Election Night Storylines

barack-obama-1.jpgA few questions I have going into Election Day.

By Will Harper

Will America elect its first black president?
Perhaps the more provocative question is: Will the Bradley Effect hand McCain a surprise victory?

Will gay marriage survive?
The polls suggest it's going to be close. Conventional wisdom posits that high voter turnout inspired by the presidential race will help defeat Prop. 8. But even the No on 8 folks concede that not all Obama voters support gay marriage. In fact, African American neighborhoods supported Prop. 22 (the first gay marriage ban) in 2000.

Will this election ruin Gavin Newsom’s aspirations to become governor?
No doubt, the Prop. 8 ads hurt. But no matter what he did this election, he would have been painted as the face of gay marriage in any race for governor in the future.

Will the bad economy hurt local tax measures?
There are a lot of proposed tax hikes on SF’s ballot, from Prop. A (an $887 million bond to rebuild General Hospital) to Prop. N (increasing the real estate transfer tax for properties over $5 million). Will SF voters show there’s a limit to their generosity?

Will the left-progressives maintain their majority on the board of supervisors?
There are three key swing districts: District 1 (the Richmond), District 3 (North Beach and Chinatown) and District 11 (Excelsior). Business and real estate interests have pumped hundreds of thousands of dollars into these races in an attempt to defeat the lefties, but organized labor is on a crusade to preserve a friendly majority. The downtown/landlord strategy of linking unpopular supervisor Chris Daly to progressive candidates in those districts must be working because all of a sudden the lefties are trying to downplay Daly’s political influence.
Unfortunately, we won’t know the answer to this question until Friday because ranked-choice voting will slow down ballot counting.

Will S.F. decriminalize prostitution?
If Berkeley voters rejected a similar proposal a couple of years ago, it's hard to believe San Franciscans will back Prop. K. But then again, I don't think that Berkeley's measure had the backing of the local Democratic Party.

Is this the end of SF's public power movement?
From everything I hear, Prop. H—the so-called Clean Energy Act that paves the way for a PG&E takeover by the city—is going to lose. Badly. If that turns out to be true the public powerphiles will say that PG&E bought the election. But even lefty ideologue Randy Shaw, who is also predicting Prop. H’s defeat on BeyondChron, says that excuse only goes so far: “Progressives do not advance the cause of clean energy or public power by pushing initiatives that get crushed at the polls. And since PG&E’s $10 million campaign was foreseeable, blaming ‘big money’ for Prop H’s landslide defeat is no excuse for the weak grassroots campaign backing the measure.”

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